Dealing with grief when a mother dies

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

It took me 5 years to fully come to terms with mums death. Just like with having children, there is no manual on how to deal with the loss of someone pivotal in your life. I happened to loose my grandad and mum within 3 weeks of each other in 2013. My grandads passing before my mum was unexpected. My mum had stage 4 stomach cancer and had only been diagnosed 5 months before she died. It was a lot more than my mind could process in only a few months. I had reached 28 years old without loosing any grandparents or parents and by August of 2013 I lost a grandparent and a parent all at once.

I was emotionally numb. We'd spent since June supporting my mums pallative care at home as she did not want to die in a hospice. Whilst I was grateful for every second I got to spend with her, watching anyone gradually die is a heartbreaking and a difficult process for everyone involved. My mind was in crisis mode that summer, I couldn't feel anything as we was in limbo waiting for the inevitable that no-one wanted to arrive but knew it was for the best to end the suffering. On her last day she was in a coma, but could still hear us. I told her at least now when I travelled to Hong Kong with work in future she could come with me and see everything I was lucky enough to see. She passed peacefully at home at 9pm on the 19th Aug 2013. The clock in the kitchen stopped approximately an hour later when the funeral services came to collect her body.

After the funeral it did feel as if we could start to move forward but the first year was tough. Everyday was an anniversary of something she was no longer here for. In the October of 2013 I went on my usual sourcing trip with work to Hong Kong but this time I'd tagged extra holiday days on to the end of the trip and arranged for my partner to fly out at the end of my work trip and spent time in Hong Kong. Little did I realise he came out and had planned to propose. He proposed on top of the peak looking high up over Hong Kong Harbour with a haribo ring and we planned to choose an engagement ring when we got home. On the trip we inadvertently stopped in a ring shop just to browse and saw to 2 beautiful engagement rings. One a slightly larger set diamond and the other a slightly smaller but radiant one. They didn't have the certification for the larger diamond but did for the radiant one and there was my confirmation my mum has joined us in Hong Kong. The diamond has been cut on my mums last birthday before she died. I had to stop myself from not becoming a complete emotional wreck in the middle of the shop and knew that was absolutely no coincidence. I had to leave the shop to compose myself but knew that was the one. So the next day we went back and got the ring. It didn't even need altering, it was already my size.

Anyway that's by the by, life just took hold after getting engaged as did work commitments and everything else and we'd also moved house and for 5 years I'd kept myself so busy I didn't need to ponder over the fact my mum wasn't here anymore. However what you don't realise is that you can't hide from grief. You have to face it and when I was on maternity leave I had no choice. There was no hiding from the fact that I didn't have my mum there to support me but I was fortunate enough to have my amazing partner and group of mum friends to fall back on that kept me sane while we managed a full relentless year of sleepless nights. What it did teach me was that when you loose someone so pivotal to you and still survive, you realise you don't need anyone else other than you and those that genuinely love you. If you can successfully come forward from raging grief you can survive anything and you're stronger than what you give yourself credit for.

Many attach only to the negative connotations of grief, the sadness, the loss, when all grief really is, is love. If you concentrate on grief being love, you make the process less painful for yourself and acceptance comes into reach. I believe that when a loved ones time is done on this planet its because they completed what was required of them which was to leave the earth a better place than how they found it regardless of whether the way they passed seems fair to me. I don't focus my energy to dwell on things I have no control over as its too draining.

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